| Dunbar - East Lothian
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Dunbar Golf Club |
East Links, Dunbar
Secretary: John Archibald
Old Tom Morris (1821-1908)
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© Digitalsport UK
Dunbar East Links |
THE DUNBAR GOLF COURSE is laid out on the land where Oliver
Cromwell's army camped prior to the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. It is known that golf was played in the Dunbar area at least as
early as the beginning of the 17th century.
Records reveal that a hundred years before Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated at Culloden, the Assistant Minister at Dunbar was
disgraced for playing at gouff. It is also documented a quarter of a century earlier that two men from the neighbouring parish of
Tyninghame were censured by the Kirk Session for playing gouff on the Lord's Day in 1616.
In 1794, a group of gentlemen with strong masonic ties formed Dunbar Golfing Society which played at Westbarns but support
declined over the years. The only remaining documents from that Society are the Rules and Regulations dated 14th May of that year.
In 1856, following a meeting in the Town Hall, Dunbar Golf Club was established and play began on a course laid out on the Duke of
The original course was 15 holes before it was
redesigned by Tom Morris in 1894. During this period Morris was in great demand, not only playing in Challenge Matches, but
as a house guest of the East Lothian gentry.
He was considered to be the first golf architect, charging one pound sterling per day plus travelling expenses. Many of our great
courses were laid out by Tom Morris, including the scene of his Open triumphs at Prestwick and Muirfield. An extract from the
Dunbar Golf Club minutes of 1859 gives an insight into the duties of the greenkeeper at that time. 'The green must be swept and
cleaned every Wednesday and Saturday. All molehills kept flat where possible.
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4th Green on Musselburgh Links
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East Links, Dunbar
Tel: 01368 862086
East Course, North Berwick
© Digitalsport UK
He must be on duty during all
Medal days and when the tent has to be erected he must be out.' One interesting Bye-Law from the turn of the century reads. 'The
official at the burn is authorised by the Committee to charge all players one penny for each ball recovered from the water.' |
The Dunbar Ladies Golf Club was instituted in the Mason's Hall in 1894.
Originally the ladies competitions were played over 12 holes, using the first six and last six of the 18 hole course. The original
clubhouse was the cottage now known as Beachcote and the existing clubhouse was constructed in 1900 with oil lighting.
Prior to the formation, ladies had for many years played golf over the East Links. In 1871, there was an article in the local
newspaper from a bachelor offering himself as a prize for the winner of the Ladies Competition ' provided she be young and
This was followed by a letter from a young Edinburgh lady, coming to Dunbar for a holiday, intimating she would be a competitor
and hoped that she might be considered. Over the years the Dunbar Ladies Golf Club has hosted the Scottish Ladies Championship,
British Girls and Scottish Girls Tournament.
Dunbar East Links, situated on the estuary of the Firth of Forth, is a combination of links and inland turf, laid out on a narrow
stretch of land which follows the natural contours of the coastline. The main features include the Old Deer Park wall running the
length of the course, Barns Ness lighthouse at the 9th, the ruined building known as 'The Vaults' at the 14th, and a number of
square shaped greens. The 9th through 12th are the most testing holes but the closing stretch with the rocky beach ready to accept
the mildest of slices can also ruin a good score.
| Course Record Pro
64: Russell Weir Am 66: J. Grant, 1989
James Gellatley (1893-98) was greenkeeper and professional before Tommy Currie (1897-1900) was appointed. He was followed by Willie
Robertson and then Robert Auld. He was appointed professional and clubmaster in May 1902 which coincided with the expansion of the
course into another 32 acres of the Deer Park, a task completed in early 1905. Auld born in 1871 in Musselburgh, moved to North
Berwick where he apprenticed as a clubmaker with James Hutchison. Auld was a scratch medalist of Bass Rock Golf Club before joining
the professional ranks at Dunbar where he worked from 142 High Street. In 1923 his assistant Dave Cairns was appointed assistant
professional to James Lindsay at Oak Park Counntry Club, Chicago, USA. Auld remained at Dunbar until his retirement in 1938 and
there are some fine examples of his clubmaking still in existence, stamped with Rt Auld. |
Thomas D. Currie
Thomas Denholm Currie born in Kilconquhar, Fife, apprenticed as a club maker with A. H. Scott at Elie. In 1897 he was appointed
foreman club maker with J & D Clark at Dunbar Golf Club and married local girl Wilhelmina Paxton. In 1899 J & A Dickson took over
the workshop in Golf House (now Beachcote) in Dunbar and Tommy Currie continued as foreman club maker. In 1900 he followed Donald
Ross as club maker at Royal Dornoch Golf Club where he employed his brother George Currie, Donald MacKay and Bob McDonald as club
makers. His clubs stamped 'T D Currie, Maker, Dornoch' are very rare. Tommy lived with his family in Links Cottage situated 200
yards from the clubhouse. In November 1921 they emigrated to America and the following year he was appointed professional at the
Donald Ross designed course at Inverness Country Club, Toledo, Ohio. That year he played J.H. Taylor in an exhibition match at
Inverness. In 1931 Currie moved to Knollwood Golf Club, Lake Forest, Illinois.
David L. Cairns
David Lumsden Cairns born 13th July 1901 in Dunbar, son of George Cairns, 3 Old Harbour, Dunbar. Dave Cairns emigrated to America in
March 1923 and was appointed assistant to James Lindsay (originally from Gullane), pro at Oak Park Country Club, Chicago, Illinois.
In 1928, Cairns was appointed head pro and club maker at Brookwood Country Club, Oak Park, Chicago and the following year he
became an American Citizen. In 1935, Dave Cairns and his family returned to Scotland for a holiday. They were joined on the trip by Alan
Brodie and his wife. Alan was a native of North Berwick and head pro at Lakewood Country Club, Richmond, Virginia. Brookwood was sold in
1990 during a period when the Country Club was frequented by members of the notorious 'Chicago Outfit' who where involved in organised
Bruce and John Heatly
Walter Bruce Heatly, born 5th August 1900 at 33 High Street Dunbar, son of Peter Heatly, a Tailor and his wife Jane Paterson. In 1923
he emigrated to America and joined Robert Fortune the golf pro at Conneaut Country Club, Ohio. Robert 'Bob' Fortune's family lived in
Haddington Place, Aberlady and he had emigrated the previous year. Bruce Heatly was appointed golf pro at Echo Lake Country Club,
Westfield NJ 1925-26, where he was joined by his brother John Heatly in 1925. Bruce moved to Whitehall, New York in 1928.
The Dunbar course measures 6426 yards S.S.S. 71 and has hosted many tournaments including the Scottish Amateur Championship, Scottish
Professional and the Scottish Boys' Championship. Among the previous winners of the Scottish Boys' was Ewan Murray (1971) and
Andrew Coltart (1987).
For many years Dunbar was one of the final qualifying courses when the Open Championship was played at Muirfield.
In 2002 Steve Elkington qualified at Dunbar and reached the four-man play-off in the final. Luke Donald also qualified at Dunbar that
year, plus Esteban Toledo who became the first Mexican to win on the Champions Tour in 2013. Those who failed to qualify at Dunbar
in 2002 were Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen.
Last Local Qualifying for the Open Championship
The R&A decided there will be a reduced number of local qualifying venues for the Open Championship and 2013 was the last local qualifying
to take place in East Lothian. 36 holes were played at Dunbar, Gullane, North Berwick, and Musselburgh with three qualifying spots available
at each venue.
The leading qualifier at Dunbar was Craigielaw's Grant Forrest with rounds of 67 and 65 for a superb eight-under-par total of 132.
The 20 year-old amateur who lives in North Berwick and is studying at San Diego University closed with a birdie to secure a one-shot
victory over Australian John Wade and India's Shiv Kapur, who secured the other two spots up for grabs at East Links. Unfortunately
Grant Forrest failed to reach the third round. The winner of the 2013 Open Championship was Phil Mickelson who closed with a brilliant 66
for a total of 281. (It was his brother Tim Mickelson who recruited Grant Forrest for San Diego University.) Phil Mickelson and his family
stayed in the Marine Hotel, North Berwick, and when he came back with the Claret Jug, the staff rolled out the red carpet and lined up to give
him a round of applause.
| Copyright © Douglas Seaton 2013, All Rights Reserved. |